A touch of frost on the Islands of Fleet

Launching from Ross Bay within the Kirkcudbright estuary proved a better option than our usual starting point hereabouts, avoiding a long carry with loaded boats that would have been necessary otherwise. For a short winter's day it was a late start but timed perfectly with a 24hr weather window, the skies clearing as we loaded the boats and headed out towards Ross Island.
The best of the paddling on this stretch of coast is here, in the race that forms either side of the island, and beneath the cliffs of Meikle Ross.
Chris, heading into an open corner at the back of which is a long and narrow cave. A slight swell provided gentle but enjoyable conditions close in, replaced by oily seas once away from the cliffs.
A moment's pause as the sun nears the horizon...
...before turning the western corner of Barlocco Island, our home for the night.
A small fire on the shingle beach had kept the cold at bay the previous evening but it was a bitter start to the day - the unique sensation of pulling on an icy dry-suit being one of the joys of multi-day winter paddling trips.
Thickening cloud cover took the edge off the cold and for now all was calm, though there was little time to waste with fresh winds imminent and a front clearly visible to the south.
Passing inside Barlocco Island and out across the bay towards Meikle Pinnacle - a small stack which can be passed via a narrow channel at high water given suitable conditions.
Conditions remained suitable for some time - an oily calm remained as we passed inside Manxman's Rock, the first breath of wind following shortly after. A swiftly ebbing tide draining Brighouse Bay provided some entertaining waves to around three feet after which it was clapotis all the way to Slack Heugh.
Pulling out of the chop into smoother seas once more approaching The Sound separating the mainland peninsula from Ross Island...
...and moving up the eddy. Before we were even out of the channel the sun had gone, replaced by grey skies and a cold southerly wind. With the last paddle strokes, our short weather window closed, the first trip of the year ending with a degree of satisfaction having made perfect use of the break in the winds and the simple pleasure of warm, dry clothes.


Ian Johnston said…
Happy New Year Will - what a good start to 2015! :o)

Kind regards
Will Herman said…
Thanks Ian - Happy New Year to you also!